More than 2 dozen COVID-19 cases reported at local taekwondo school

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — The owner of a local martial arts school said classes will have to be temporarily taught via Zoom after several positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

Conrad Hartle, the owner and head instructor of King Tiger Taekwondo Lake Norman in Huntersville, confirmed that the school has seen several positive COVID-19 cases. Hartle said they have been in contact with the health department and have been advised to close for the rest of the week, stop camps and move classes online.

In the two weeks after returning from the July Fourth holiday, which King Tiger was closed for camp, Hartle said about 26 of the approximately 450 kids and adults they had in their facility got sick.

“We were closed the week of July 4th, and the two weeks after we had a number of cases,” Hartle said.

Additionally, he said five adult staff members -- who were fully vaccinated -- also tested positive.

The health department told Channel 9 there was a cluster at the camp. Officials said they’ve confirmed one staff member and seven campers tested positive.

Hartle said King Tiger notified all their members and are undergoing quarantine periods for all affected students and staff. They are also transitioning back to Zoom-only classes for at least the next week and will be evaluating after that.

Hartle told Channel 9 that those he’s spoken with those who tested positive, who are doing OK.

“Most of the kids, to my knowledge, had headaches, some of them had upset bellies, but really only for about a day or so. So, we’re expecting everybody to be fine, haven’t heard of any lasting problems for anybody,” he said.

Hartle said this was the first time the school has had to deal with a COVID issue since the pandemic started.

“We haven’t had any problems until now, so, you know, but there’s gonna be problems, it’s gonna happen in the schools,” he told Channel 9. “If COVID is as prevalent as it is, it’s gonna happen -- it’s inevitable.”

More than a year into the pandemic -- and just weeks before students return to school -- it’s another example that the virus is still with us.

“It’s still out there, and we’re still following protocol. We still have the kids and instructors when they are inside, have to be masked for the camp environment. When they were in their actual Tae Kwon Do class we would allow them to remove their mask if they had trouble breathing doing strenuous exercise and stuff,” Hartle said.

He also said they still have sanitizing stations and are wiping down equipment. They had stopped temperature checks but have since brought that back as another layer of protection.

“I think we’ve had a pretty darn good result until recently,” Hartle told Channel 9. “Hopefully, it’ll just be an aberration and we’ll get back to business as usual.”

He said that after closing down this week and moving online, he’s been advised that the school can reopen next week for those who have cleared the quarantine protocol.

(WATCH BELOW: COVID-19 outbreak at summer camp sickens 31 kids in NY)